Ressos on Previous Bull Cycles: Analyzing Crypto's Narrative Shift and Current Adrift State

Throughout the history of cryptocurrency, market movements have often been driven by prevailing narratives generating excitement and interest. In the 2016-17 period, the rise of Ethereum Killers gained momentum while decentralized finance (DeFi) became the talk of the town in 2020. Following DeFi, the market's focus shifted towards non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and gaming in 2021. Each of these narratives presented a new use case or innovation in the crypto space that managed to captivate the attention of investors and enthusiasts alike.

However, as we proceed through 2023, the cryptocurrency space seems to be lacking a dominant narrative. This void has led to a sense of aimlessness within the market, as investors struggle to pinpoint the next breakthrough that could potentially drive the industry forward. The absence of a clearly defined narrative has resulted in a market adrift, casting uncertainty on the future direction of cryptocurrency prices.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this lack of prevailing narrative and discuss potential implications for the cryptocurrency market. As we explore the significance of these narratives in shaping previous bull cycles, we aim to provide valuable insights into factors that could potentially spark the next era of growth in the crypto space.

Historical Bull Cycle Narratives

ETH Killers (2016-17)

During the 2016-17 bull cycle, one narrative that drove excitement and price action was the rise of Ethereum Killer projects. These were blockchain platforms designed to compete with Ethereum, offering improved scalability, security, and efficiency. Projects like EOS, Cardano, and TRON garnered significant attention and investment during this period.

DeFi (2020)

The 2020 bull cycle saw the rapid emergence of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) as the driving narrative. DeFi refers to an ecosystem of financial applications built on blockchain networks, allowing users to transact, trade, lend, and borrow without intermediaries like banks. The potential to revolutionize traditional finance attracted significant attention and investment to the space.

Some key advancements and events during this period include:

NFTs + Gaming (2021)

In 2021, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and blockchain gaming became the focal point of the crypto bull cycle. NFTs are unique digital assets representing ownership of art, collectibles, or virtual items. Their rarity and uniqueness captivated the market, leading to a surge in NFT sales and minting.

Some highlights of this period are:

Current State of the Crypto Market

Absence of a Dominant Narrative

In previous bull cycles, there was always a dominant narrative that spurred excitement and drove the price action of cryptocurrencies. In 2016-17, we witnessed the rise of Ethereum Killers, while 2020 was marked by the surge in Decentralized Finance (DeFi). In 2021, the spotlight shifted to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and gaming. However, currently, there seems to be no dominating narrative shaping the market, causing the crypto ecosystem to feel somewhat adrift.

Factors Affecting Market Stability

Several factors can be attributed to the current state of market stability:

To sum up, the current state of the crypto market seems to lack a compelling narrative that can anchor enthusiasm and create price action. Various factors like regulatory uncertainty, market saturation, environmental concerns, and macro-economic influences contribute to a feeling of directionlessness.

Implications for the Industry

Challenges in Investment Decision Making

The absence of a prevailing narrative in the current crypto landscape presents some difficulties for investors. With previous bull cycles, a central theme provided clear guidance on which projects and technologies to focus on. Now, as crypto feels adrift, investors must navigate through a vast array of projects and carefully analyze their potential for growth.

This lack of direction can lead to hesitation or indecision, as investors question which cryptoassets to support. In turn, this may negatively affect the flow of capital into the industry and subsequently hinder the development of emerging blockchain technologies.

Impact on Product and Platform Development

The unclear narrative also affects developers and platforms aiming to create new products and services in the blockchain space. While the previous cycles with ETH Killers, DeFi, and NFTs + Gaming provided clear areas of focus, today's uncertainty pushes developers to diversify their strategies and try to cater to a variety of use cases.

This fragmentation of effort may lead to a slower overall progression in the space. On the other hand, it could result in the emergence of new, innovative ideas that may lay the foundation for the next prevailing narrative. In any case, the current state of the industry highlights the importance of maintaining a forward-thinking mindset and adaptability in such a dynamic industry.

Potential Emerging Narratives

Web 3.0 and the Metaverse

Web 3.0 and the Metaverse are emerging as potential new narratives in the crypto space. They represent a shift to decentralized digital spaces where users can interact and transact. This next evolution of the internet could fuel demand for digital assets and spur innovation across various industries.

The Metaverse, with its virtual worlds and immersive experiences, may drive the adoption of digital currencies and blockchain technology. Digital assets like NFTs and decentralized domains could become integral components of virtual economies. This intersection between blockchain and the Metaverse unlocks new opportunities for developers, creators, and users alike.

DAOs and Decentralized Governance

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are gaining traction as an alternative approach to corporate governance. DAOs leverage blockchain technology and smart contracts to build self-governing entities, where participants can make decisions collectively in a transparent way.

DAOs have the potential to democratize decision-making by eliminating centralized control and empowering communities. They can be applied in various sectors like finance, governance, and even social platforms. As DAOs gain more adoption, their unique way of operating will garner attention, driving further interest in decentralized solutions.

Green Energy and Sustainable Solutions

As environmental concerns become a focal point, green energy and sustainable solutions are emerging as critical narratives in the cryptocurrency space. There is an increasing awareness of the energy consumption associated with blockchain networks, leading to a call for environmentally sustainable alternatives.

This has already prompted the shift towards greener consensus algorithms like Proof of Stake (PoS), which offer greater energy efficiency without compromising security. Furthermore, there are blockchain projects focused on facilitating renewable energy trading and incentivizing sustainable practices.

In summary, the crypto landscape is continually evolving, with narratives like Web 3.0 and the Metaverse, DAOs, and green energy potentially shaping the next wave of excitement and price action.


In conclusion, it's evident that previous bull cycles in the cryptocurrency market have been driven by specific narratives that captured the attention of investors and enthusiasts. From ETH Killers in 2016-17 to DeFi in 2020, and NFTs and gaming in 2021, each of these narratives played a crucial role in propelling the market to new heights.

Currently, the lack of a prevailing narrative seems to have left the crypto market feeling somewhat adrift. This absence of a unifying theme might have contributed to the observed stagnation or even decline in market excitement and price action. Although it is challenging to predict future trends, there may be some potential narratives on the horizon, such as Metaverse, Web3, and further developments in the DeFi and NFT space, which could drive the next bull market.

However, it's crucial for the industry participants to not rely solely on narratives but continue to innovate, enhance infrastructure, and focus on the development of robust, scalable solutions that can bring value to the broader economy. By doing so, the crypto ecosystem can maintain its momentum and ensure long-term growth, irrespective of the presence of a prevailing narrative.